Confronting armed zealots takes courage. Some find that courage, some don’t. It’s not necessarily a dishonorable trait to prioritize self-preservation. Sacrificing one’s life isn’t how reasonable humans are naturally wired.
That’s why extraordinary courage has been memorialized by every civilization in history.
This week, America watches the events in Afghanistan in stunned silence. We watch a former Gitmo detainee sit behind the desk of the president of Afghanistan and address the press as President Joe Biden hides from accountability at Camp David — surrounded by armed guards.
The decision to militarily withdraw from Afghanistan after a 20-year engagement was correct. After 20 years of training and supplying billions in equipment, the Afghan army wasn’t going to get any more proficient. At the same time, the Biden administration knew the Taliban had, by the end of June, recaptured and delivered their brand of justice in most of Afghanistan’s provinces.
To abandon America’s friends to that inhumanity is unforgivable regardless of who occupies the Oval Office.
Biden has, as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in his 2018 book, “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” No one should act surprised by his current failure.
What qualifies as a profound disappointment is the lack of personal accountability, and courage, by our military and intelligence leadership. How could they fail to plan to exfiltrate the Afghans they knew would be targeted? Or maybe they tried and were hindered by the swamp that’s the Washington bureaucracy.
We know that America’s military brass and intel leadership regularly leaked criticism under President Donald Trump. Could it be that military/intelligence leaders did leak concerns to a press corps that suppresses anything that casts a Democrat in a negative light?
Today, everyone grasps the consequences of feckless leadership. But will that translate into courage in American communities where we face challenges less severe than being publicly hanged or forced into sex slavery by religious zealots?
This is a teachable moment. Americans don’t have to sacrifice their life to confront a malicious ideology. How much courage does it take to not purchase products made in a country that runs forced labor camps and undermines freedom around the world?
What about standing up to cancel culture and doxing? How much courage does it take to close social media accounts at companies that practice political censorship? For our elected leaders to not pass budgets that cripple our children’s financial future?
For a media to abide by established journalistic ethics? Or to stand against a movement that seeks to abandon the path built by Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Mahatma Gandhi and other civil rights leaders?
Who can doubt that minimal courage in our own communities is profoundly consequential to America’s future? This isn’t an undertaking where your life is on the line. In the battle of ideas, all it takes to win is to show up.